Rotarian and Past President Tracy Bray introduced Mayor Ellis to the Rotary Club of Belleville's lunch meeting on January 5th.  A great start to 2023.  Mayor Ellis is the City's 77th Mayor, born and raised in Belleville with deep roots in the community.  He has had two previous terms as Mayor, followed by Member of Parliament for four years.  He has come full circle with his service to this community.
 
Mayor Ellis recognized the years that the Rotary Club of Belleville has been in existence - 102 years and the work they have done during their tenure.  Service clubs support the social fabric of our community and drive change.  Council's work will be a challenge over the next decade and will require a multi-faceted focus.  Putting people first is a priority and this involves the current doctor shortage.  In 2006 there were 10,000 people without doctors and through a successful doctor recruitment program, that issue was solved.  But here we are in 2023 with a population growth, the retirement of many family doctors and we are back at 15,000 people without doctors.  This is a priority.  The City has hired a full-time doctor recruiter and Mayor Ellis was pleased to announce that Karen Poste has taken this position as of January 1st.  There are 34 municipalities looking for doctors so we have to be aggressive in our program to encourage medical students to consider Belleville as a great option for them to start their practise.  We all know there have been challenges in healthcare, particularly evident over the past 2 1/2 years and part of Ms. Poste's job will be to work with Loyalist College on their nursing program that will include nurse practitioners and nurses.  A doctor recruitment committee will be set up as part of Karen's responsbilities.
 
Affordable and transitional housing is also on the list of priorities and Councillor Paul Carr was successful in getting Council's approval to hold a Homelessness Mental Health Summit in the spring of 2023.  Student housing is being reviewed as well with new partners to provide and support students attending Loyalist College.  
 
Economic development as it relates to the City's infrastructure is another priority.  While there is good news coming as far as announcements, the City needs serviced lands in order to attract businesses to the area.  New companies and companies that are expanding are in the works that will provide tremendous growth to the area.  Overall, the City needs to develop a 10 year capital plan to include these areas of focus as well as a complete waste management project that will cost in the area of $150 million dollars.  The current plant was built in the 60's so the City has to be ready.  Over the next 10 years, 21,000 residences will be needed to accommodate the population growth.  Other areas of attention will be a fleet management plan to review and make decisions as they relate to electric and hybrid vehicles.  The City's current transit system is being reviewed and discussions about a possible sub-terminal or regional service may be part of those discussions.  
 
Mayor Ellis pointed out that he has been in office 4 weeks with a great council, new and seasoned and he is looking forward to working together to address the needs of the City.
 
President-Elect Peter Malone thanked the Mayor for his insightful presentation and pointed out that the City and the Rotary Club of Belleville are close in age and have worked together for a long time.  We look forward to that continuing and look forward to the future growth and opportunities this City has to offer.  Peter presented the Mayor with a copy of the Rotary Club of Belleville's History Book.
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